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Farmers in Đồng Tháp Province have switched to other crops and aquaculture on 11,511ha of what used to be unproductive rice paddies this year, 82 per cent higher than the target.


A rice field turned into a jackfruit orchard in Thanh Mỹ Commune in Đồng Tháp Province’s Tháp Mười District. More and more rice farmers in the province are switching to other, high-value crops and earn higher incomes. – VNA/VNS Photo

Farmers in Đồng Tháp Province have switched to other crops and aquaculture on 11,511ha of what used to be unproductive rice paddies this year, 82 per cent higher than the target.

According to its People’s Committee, the area is already the highest in a calendar year for the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province.

Of the 11,511ha, shrimp or fish are farmed on 54ha along with rice, while on the rest, short-term crops and perennial trees, including corn, sesame, sweet potato, taro, lotus, vegetables, mango, orange, jackfruit, durian, and lime are grown.

Local authorities have created favourable conditions for farmers to switch to short-term crops and perennial trees in high-lying areas and zoned areas to increase production efficiency.

According to Huỳnh Tấn Đạt, deputy director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, vegetables and other crops yield two to three times higher profits than rice.

The province is expanding efficient farming models for growing vegetables and other crops, which offer farmers profits of VNĐ50-70 million (US$2,000-2,900) per hectare per crop of two to three months.

Rice farmers who switched to perennial trees, including fruit trees, would begin to have harvests after three or four years, he said.

Phạm Văn Niềm, deputy director of the Mỹ Long Agriculture and Services Cooperative in Cao Lãnh District, said after switching from rice to seedless lime, farmers would start harvesting after 15-18 months.

Seedless lime has an average yield of five to seven tonnes per 1,000sq.m per crop with a tonne fetching a profit of VNĐ7 million ($290).

Rice farmers who switched to speciality fruits earn very high incomes.

Lê Thanh Điền in Châu Thành District’s Phú Hựu Commune switched to durian on his 1.1ha land, and now harvests around 16 tonnes a year to earn more than VNĐ1 billion ($41,300).

The province has encouraged farmers to make the switch based on the zoning for their locality, demand and local water and weather conditions.

It has created concentrated growing areas for each crop and developed linkages between various stakeholders to ensure the harvests can be sold.

The province People’s Committee targets 10,011ha of paddies next year, of which 3,000ha will be used for growing fruits.

It aims to create more fruit growing areas and increase the cultivation of speciality fruits.

It aims to make fruits a key crop with the setting up of concentrated growing areas and adopting advanced farming techniques.

It plans for developing fruits in 2023-25 targets growing them on 46,413ha with an annual output of 463,000 tonnes by the time it ends.

Of that 30 per cent of areas will be planted to Vietnamese good agricultural practices or equivalent standards by 2025 and 20-30 per cent will see the use of advanced irrigation methods. 

– VNS



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